Grace: To see Jesus more clearly, to love Him more dearly and to follow Him more nearly.
Text: Matthew 5: 1-20
Reflection: Ignatius recommends praying with three points from the Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes, the exhortation to be the light of the world, and Christ as the fulfillment of the law.
Someone once told me he found it much easier to follow the Ten Commandments than to follow the Beatitudes. I think a lot of people would agree; the commandments are more direct, their expectations clearer. But the flipside is the inexhaustible riches of the Beatitudes (a word that means profound and lasting happiness).
Why do the Beatitudes follow the model of ‘Blessed are…for they shall?’ At first glance, we might expect ‘Blessed will the meek be, for they shall inherit the earth’ or ‘Blessed are the meek, for they have inherited the earth.’ But instead we have a combination of times, the present and the future. The Lord is calling us to let our future happiness flow into our present lives, allowing us to experience a profound happiness now despite the circumstances in which we may find ourselves.
The Lord also tells his disciples that they are the light of the world and to make sure people their good deeds. Why then does He later during the Sermon on the Mount say not to let their left hand to know what the right hand is doing? What are the truths that each of these words are stating?
The Lord then explains that He has come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. The New Covenant does not violently displace the Old Covenant. The same is true of ourselves: the new man we put on does not violently displace the old one. Grace builds upon nature, and the conversion we are called to each day consists not in being remade from scratch, but in being reshaped and re-formed with the ‘raw material’ that God has made us to be.
Questions: What arises in me when I ponder my life after death? How is my hope for the future manifested in my life now?
How is the Lord calling me to be light for others?
How is the Lord seeking not to abolish but to fulfill my nature through His graces?